Demystifying The Male Consumer

A unique approach based on neuroscience

Driven by the fast changing definition of masculinity we are seeing a wave of novel “male-centric” trends such as gender neutrality and men’s makeup. At the same time the conventional male consumer who tends to be more minimalist is still relevant. These contradictory ideas are an accurate representation of today’s modern male consumer who is looking for products that fit his personality, which is independent of gender, age, and ethnicity.


Consumers Are Individuals

In personal care, the goal is to develop products that appeal to as wide a consumer base as possible. Consequently, brands tend to target products for one generic type of consumer such as “men” or “ethnic”. However, modern consumers are looking to make a deeper connection with their products and demanding options that fit their individual lifestyles.1


Numbers Don’t Lie

According to Euromonitor, the global market for male grooming products is projected to exceed $60 billion USD by 2020, significant growth from its current level of $47 billion.2  Although the men’s grooming market has traditionally been difficult to navigate, the numbers make it clear that men are invested in their appearance. So, how can a brand cater to the modern male consumer who is looking to connect with grooming products in a more personalized way? The key is to target men based on personality and not gender. 


Biology Influences Personality

According to biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher, an individual’s personality stems from life experiences as well as biological underpinnings. From her research, she has determined that there are four neural systems which correlate with personality traits. Based on an individual’s levels of dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen they are likely to exhibit certain characteristics which will influence their behaviors, decisions and preferences.3


Dopamine and the explorer

According to Fisher, men with high levels of dopamine are energetic and adventure seeking. The male “explorer” is very likely to exercise often and participate in extreme sports. Due to his lifestyle he gravitates to grooming products that help him combat body odor such as deodorants, anti-perspirants, and fragrances. Also, claims such as “energizing” and “outdoor protection” are likely to resonate.
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Serotonin and the builder

High levels of serotonin are associated with observing social norms, following the rules, and cautiousness. Therefore, the “builder” man is likely to have a more traditional grooming regimen. However, his cautiousness makes him more prone to choosing clean and natural products. In fact, a recent study revealed 49% of men buy natural products at least some of the time. These men claim to choose natural products because they are healthier and better for the environment.4

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 Testosterone and the director

Testosterone is associated with “directors” who portray the typical alpha male personality. Directors are focused, strategic, and career driven. Similar to the builder, he is likely to have a more traditional grooming regimen. However, he views a well-groomed appearance as an essential part of his quest for success. Director men tend to dabble in products such as hair stylers and beard groomers.

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Estrogen and the negotiator


Estrogen is associated with open-mindedness, contexualism, and inclusivity. Therefore, the male “negotiator” has a more liberal-minded view of personal care and challenges stereotypical views of masculinity. He is interested in products that have been traditionally marketed to women, such as anti-aging skin care and makeup. He is also intrigued by removing labels from products altogether and gravitates toward genderless or gender neutral brands. 

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Learn more about the male consumer

Click here to listen to the recording of our recent webinar “Unraveling the Modern Male Consumer”. 


(3) Fisher, Helen E et al. “Four broad temperament dimensions: description, convergent validation correlations, and comparison with the Big Five” Frontiers in psychology vol. 6 1098. 3 Aug. 2015,